The CCA Oaks (Grade 1)- $300.000 Purse
SAR- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
July 22, 2018
Opening weekend at Saratoga continues on Sunday with another fantastic Grade 1, as the 15th running of the Grade 1 CCA Oaks takes place. This is a race that has seen many of the top three year old fillies show up and win over the years, including Mrs Bombastic in 2010. My Mommy Is My Aunt, Devil Wears Prada, Karloff, and Dirty Deeds are some other well known recent winners. Last year, it was Whispering Nurse in the winner’s circle for D J C Racing Stables. This is a filly that is still performing at a high level, so her success story likely has several more chapters to be written. This was the second graded win of her career, and even know she has won back to back Grade 1’s. In 2018, there will be six going to the gate, and that included the reigning KYO champion. Let’s take a closer look!
#1- Beat To The Punch (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- On the rail, this filly by Im Too Confident has won half of her twelve career starts, and performed well in the KYO this May. In that race, she jumped out to the lead, while starting from an outer post before hanging on for the fourth place check. She has won four graded stakes over the course of her career, though her run in the KYO will not necessarily mean she sets the pace here since the trainer seems to have used different tactics with her. She’s always near the front when it matters at end, and that won’t change here.
#2- Jinxed Queen (Gdp Inc, ridden by R Bejarano)- In April, Gdp Inc moved up Jinxed Queen in class pretty strongly from the optional claiming ranks into the Grade 2 Gazelle. While the Gazelle was a little soft for a KYO prep at the time, a couple in that field have been able to move forward, and Jinxed Queen was one of them. She’d win the race, and then followed that up with a win in the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan Stakes over sloppy ground. The trainer probably got a little too ambitious afterwards, running her against the boys in the OH Derby, and after that miss, she’s back against her gender and as long as she is not disheartened by that result, she should bounce back well here.
#3- Are We Dreamin (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- The jockey has won the last two editions of the race, with Whispering Nurse and Dirty Deeds. Now, he will look to get Mb Stables his first career CCA Oaks win. She would make her graded stake debut in her last start, the Grade 3 Trillium at WO, and won as a 24/1 longshot. That followed an ungraded stake win, so this is clearly a filly that is just beginning to find her best form right now. For some reason, bettors don’t seem to like her, as not only was she 24/1 in the Trillium, she was 28/1 in the Star Shoots. Don’t expect to see odds like that again on her.
#4- Ivanka (Winning Link Stables, ridden by F Geroux)- This is certainly a filly that could a use a jolt back in the right direction. Everything was going great through April, as she would get a win in the Las Virgenes, and followed it up with a strong second place showing in the Grade 1 SA Oaks. This would send her into the KYO on a great run of form, but that race not was saw her fail to hit the board, it was a lethargic, last place, lost by ten effort. She never showed her closing kick, but if we were hoping to see it in her last race, the Grade 1 Acorn, she ran better then she did in the KYO, but was still just 7th. Needs to find that stretch kick again.
#5- Misty Firefox (Crocker Ggs, ridden by F Pennington)- The defending KYO champion will look for her sixth consecutive win in the CCA Oaks. She has also won seven of her last eight races, so this is simply a filly who is not doing anything wrong right now. The current streak started with an allowance, and continued into the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks at TP, and then the Grade 3 Fantasy at OP, which set up the KYO win. Things continued to shine for her, as she won the $500.000 WO Oaks last month. We can try to play beat the favorite here, but Misty Firefox is very impressive, and I see no reason why she won’t win here as well. Certainly, she is not a lock by any means, but she’s deservedly the favorite. Of course, I need to throw in my obligatory note about having the mighty F Pennington on her side, as well. He was the jockey for her in the KYO.
#6- Indian River Queen (South Beach Racing, ridden by J J Castellano)- This three year old Moment Of Madness filly is consistent in being able to pick up a check for the trainer, finishing in the top four for South Beach in 11 of 12 races. However, South Beach would like to see a larger check out of those runs, as she only has two wins. Both wins were statebreds. Recently, she has been running at the stake level, and has a couple of third place runs in the Grade 3 Honeybee and Grade 3 Fantasy, where she only missed a length. So, she’s close, and she knows how to be there. Somehow, someway, she needs to find just a little bit more to get over the hump and win one of these races.